Magda Szubanski in Conversation - 10 October

On Saturday, 10 October, the much-loved comedian will visit Newcastle to discuss her new memoir Reckoning. Festival Director Rosemarie Milsom will be speaking to Magda about her extraordinary book, which describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father's espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family.

This intimate event will be held at Watt Street ARC, at 45 Watt Street, Newcastle, from 7pm. Tickets are $20 and are available now at There will limited cash-only door sales. Maclean's Booksellers will be selling copies of Reckoning, which Magda will happily sign.

MEDIA RELEASE: Special reading by poet Les Murray

One of Australia’s greatest poets, Les Murray, will read from his new volume of poems, Waiting for the Past, at a special event on Saturday, 25 July, at Newcastle Region Library. The event is being hosted by Newcastle Writers Festival in partnership with the library.

Murray was forced to withdraw from his scheduled appearance at this year’s Newcastle Writers Festival in March due to illness, but promised festival director Rosemarie Milsom that once he was back on his feet he would visit Newcastle.

‘‘Les is arguably one of our most respected poets and to hear him read his own work is an experience not to be missed,’’ said Milsom. ‘‘He is very down to earth and his passion for poetry runs deep.’’

The reading will begin at noon in the Lovett Gallery in Newcastle Region Library. Murray will then take questions from the audience.

Maclean’s Booksellers will be selling copies of Waiting for the Past, which Murray will happily sign.

Tickets are $20 and are available from

There will be limited cash sales at the door.

The special one-hour event is part of the Newcastle Writers Festival out-of-season event calendar which brings a variety of writers to the Hunter throughout the year. For more information visit

Media enquiries: Maryanne Church 0408 777 232.

To download a PDF copy of this media release, click here.

MEDIA RELEASE: New residency opportunity for an emerging regional writer

 1 July 2015
Emerging writers from regional Australia are invited to apply for an exciting new two-week residency being offered at The Lock-Up, Newcastle, in the lead up to next year’s Newcastle Writers Festival.

The successful applicant will be given two weeks’ accommodation in a self-contained apartment at The Lock-Up, a contemporary inner-city arts space in the historic East End, as well as a $1400 stipend from the Newcastle Writers Festival. The resident will also have the opportunity to participate in the festival, which last year attracted more than 5500 people to the city. The residency is supported by The Lock-Up and the University of Newcastle.

Festival Director Rosemarie Milsom said the residency would give an emerging writer the chance to carve out some time to focus on a substantial work-in-progress in any genre.

“We are really excited to be offering this opportunity,” Milsom said.

“Opportunities for regional writers are hard to come by and writing can be an isolating experience. The festival’s aim is to create a sense of community while promoting literature and the exchange of ideas. The residency is an extension of this and is open to regional writers Australia-wide.

“Not only does it offer the successful applicant some breathing space to write, it also gives them a great chance to engage with the community at the Newcastle Writers Festival.”

Writers who have not had a book commercially published and who are working towards a full-length work in any genre are invited to apply. Applications will be assessed by Newcastle Writers Festival Director Rosemarie Milsom, Keri Glastonbury (University of Newcastle) and Sam Twyford-Moore (Director, Emerging Writers Festival).

The residency period is from 22 March to 4 April, 2016. Applicants must reside in a regional area, defined by state and federal departments as areas outside metropolitan centres. It excludes cities with populations of more than 100,000.

Submissions open on Wednesday, 1 July and close on 1 October 2015. The successful applicant will be notified by 30 November.

Conditions of entry and an application form are available at

Enquiries can be emailed to

Media enquiries: Maryanne Church 0408 777 232.

To download a PDF copy of this media release, click here.

Launch of The River Cottage Australia Cookbook

BOOK LAUNCH - The Edwards, Friday 24 April, from 4.30pm

Chef Paul West grew up in the Hunter and turned his back on haute cuisine to become an advocate for sustainable farming and organic food. Please join the Newcastle Writers Festival and Bloomsbury to celebrate the launch of Paul's new book, The River Cottage Australia Cookbook, at The Edwards, Friday 24 April, from 4.30pm.

Paul will be chatting to NWF director Rosemarie Milsom, and MacLean's Booksellers will be at the free event. There will be yummy food, too. All welcome. No need to RSVP.

This House of Grief

Helen Garner: "I would have given anything to be convinced he was innocent - and not because I 'believed in him', whatever that meant, but because, in spite of everything I had heard and observed and thought in this court, in spite of everything I knew about the ways of the world, it was completely unendurable to me that a man would murder his own children". Read more about Garner's new book, This House of Grief, in the Newcastle Herald online. Hear her talk at the NWF: The Book That Changed Me, on opening night, and The Lives of Others, on Saturday night. 

Generous grant from ArtsNSW for NWF

'Just 10 days out from the third Newcastle Writers Festival, the event has received a significant state government grant.  Festival director and Herald journalist Rosemarie Milsom received news about the $50,000 grant on Monday at the festival venue, Newcastle City Hall. ‘‘The festival has very quickly become a popular feature in the city’s cultural calendar and this grant enables us to immediately develop ideas for the 2016 program,’’ said Ms Milsom.'

Read the full article from the Newcastle Herald from Tuesday 10 March: 

NWF15 attracts high-calibre authors

'AWARD-winning Australian author Helen Garner is among 130 writers set to inspire and challenge audiences at the third annual Newcastle Writers Festival. The full program for the 2015 event, which will run from March 20 to 22, was announced at the official launch at Newcastle Region Library on Friday 13 February.'

Read the full article from the Newcastle Herald from Saturday 14 February: 


We are delighted that The University of Newcastle is a major Festival Partner, and many of their graduates, staff and students will be taking part in NWF15, in events including two University of Newcastle Professors TalksThe World in a Glass of Hunter Wine, and the launch of Radical Newcastle (to be launched by UON Vice-Chancellor Caroline McMillen). Read more at the UON Engage site.


Not Your Typical Mothers' Group

The Bad Mothers' Pledge: "We acknowledge we are all bad mothers. We don't organise play dates. We don't chop food into small pieces and carry it around in case someone gets the munchies. We can't find a lid to fit any container in the house. We don't soak, fold or iron. We vacuum the bath. We acknowledge we are all bad mothers but we are doing our bloody best."

Read more about Annemarie Fleming's new book The Collected Minutes of the Bad Mothers’ Meetings in the Newcastle Herald online, and come along to the discussion and book launch, Not Your Typical Mothers' Group.



Newcastle Writers Festival 2014 - Angela Savage

Since my last post, I attended the Newcastle Writers Festival from 4-6 April. Run entirely by volunteers, including Director Rosemarie Milson, the festival was exciting, inspiring well organised and hospitable, with excellent chairing and great venues.

Read the full story:

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Philip Nitschke tips a full house at Newcastle Writers Festival - The Newcastle Herald

Dr Nitschke said he was expecting an enthusiastic response to the Exit euthanasia workshop following his participation at the Newcastle Writers Festival being held at City Hall over the weekend.

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Family Festival Hub at Newcastle Writers Festival - The Mummy Project

The Kids Program of the Newcastle Writers Festival finished on a high yesterday with the Family Festival Hub. Loads of families turned out to enjoy stories and art in and around Newcastle City Library. Local authors such as Leila Rudge, Deborah Kelly and Ted Prior entertained the crowds with readings.

See more at: 

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Newcastle Writers Festival by Lizzie Wilcock

The second Newcastle Writers Festival has just wrapped up and it has been amazing! The organizers did a fabulous job and provided so much variety in content. As someone who used to travel to the Sydney Writers Festival in May each year, and I’ve even done the Brisbane and Melbourne ones a few times, it was so nice to have one in my home town.

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At the Newcastle Writers Festival - by Ryan O'Neill

Last week I appeared on a panel at the Newcastle Writer’s Festival with Maria Takolander and Abbas El-Zein to talk about short stories. The panel was called ‘Nowhere to Hide’ and was hosted by Karen Crofts, who started off the panel with some great questions, before giving the bulk of the one hour session to the audience for question time.

Read the full story:  

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